St. Francis of Assisi

He was quite an eloquent man, with a  cheerful and kindly face. He was without cowardice or insolence.  He was less than medium in height, bordering on shortness.  His head was of moderate size and round, his face somewhat long and striking, with a smooth, low forehead.  His eyes were black and clear and of average size; his hair was black and his eyebrows straight, his symmetrical nose was thin and straight. His small ears stood up straight and his temples were smooth.  His speech was peaceable, but fiery and crisp; his voice was strong, sweet, clear, and sonorous.  His teeth were closely fitted, even, and white; his lips were small and thin; his beard was black and not bushy.  He had a slender neck, straight shoulders, short arms, slender hands with long fingers and extended nails; his legs were thin, his feet small.  He had delicate skin and was quite thin.  He wore rough garments, slept sparingly, gave most generously.  And because he was very humble, he showed mildness to everyone, adapting himself to the behaviour of all.  Among the holy he was even more so; among sinners he was one of them.  - Celano, First Life, 83.
The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis became dissatisfied with worldly life and founded the Franciscan Order according to a simple rule based on sayings from the Gospels.  Shortly before his death 1226 he received the stigmata in his hands and side as a gift from God.  My God and my all.


St. Francis is born in Assisi.      


St. Clare is born in Assisi

1202 (November)                    

Perugia and Assisi are at war. Francis is a prisoner for a year in Perugia.


Francis suffers a long illness.    

1204 or early 1205   

Francis receives a vision and a message in Spoleto;  his conversion  begins.

1205 (autumn)   

San Damiano crucifix speaks to Francis:  ‘Go and repair my house,  which, as you see, is falling into ruin.'  

1206 (early)  

Francis’s father takes him before the bishop’s court for the return of his money;  Francis renounces his father.


Francis nurses lepers in Gubbio.

1206 (summer /autumn)

Francis returns to Assisi and begins repairs on San Damiano.

1208 (16 April)   

Bernard of Quintavalle, Peter Catanii, and Giles join Francis.

1208 (summer)   

Three more brothers join.

1209 (spring)   

The number of Francis’s companions grows to eleven. They go to Rome   where Pope Innocent III approves Francis’s Rule. The brothers settle at Rivotorto on their return to Assisi.

1209 or 1210  

The brothers move to the Portiuncula (St. Mary of Angels) Possible beginning of the Third Order (Secular Franciscans).

1225 (July) 

Urged by Elias and Cardinal Hugolino (future Gregory IX),  Francis goes to Fonte Colombo near Rieti to have his eyes   cauterized.

1226(August– early  September) 

Francis is taken to the bishop’s palace in Assisi, his health failing.

1226 (September)  

Realizing he will die soon, Francis insists on being carried to the Portiuncula.  He blesses Assisi.

1226 (3 October)

Francis dies at the Portiuncula.

1228 (16 July)

Gregory IX canonizes St. Francis.

1253 (11 August)

St. Clare dies at San Damiano.

1255 (12 August) 

Alexander IV canonizes St. Clare.

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is a famous prayer which first appeared around the year 1915 A.D., and which embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi's simplicity and poverty.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace 
Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood,
As to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are
Born to eternal life.

According to Father Kajetan Esser, OFM, the author of the critical edition of St. Francis's Writings, the Peace Prayer of St. Francis is most certainly not one of the writings of St. Francis. This prayer, according to Father Schulz, Das sogennante Franziskusgebet. Forshungen zur evangelishen Gebetslitteratur (III), in Jahrbuch fur Liturgik und Hymnologie, 13 (1968), pp. 39-53, first appeared during the First World War. It was found written on the observe of a holy card of St. Francis, which was found in a Normal Almanac. The prayer bore no name; but in the English speaking world, on account of this holy card, it came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

More information about this prayer can be found in Friar J. Poulenc, OFM, L'inspiration moderne de la priere « Seigneru faites de moi un instrument de votre paix », Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, vol. 68 (1975) pp. 450-453.